Achilles tendinitis

 Achilles tendinitis

What is Achilles tendinitis?

We all are quite aware that stress on particular part of our body or its overuse can cause inflammation or swelling on that particular organ. Same is the case in context with Achilles tendinitis. Now, you must be wondering where this particular organ is located. Well, Achilles tendinitis is a condition associated with Achilles tendon that is a conduit between your calf muscle and the heel bone. The primary use of this part is made for walking, running, jumping and related movements of foot.

 Achilles tendinitis

How does it work?

The calf constitutes two big muscles: soleus and gastrocnemius. The force to push off the toe or the foot is generated by these two muscles. These muscles are joined to the heel by the Achilles tendon.

About Achilles tendinitis

Many times due to multiple reasons we feel swelling, inflammation or severe pain radiating from the heel. This condition is termed as Achilles tendinitis or tendinitis of the heel. In some cases the condition the sufferer also feels irritation or burning sensation at the heel.

Causes of Achilles tendinitis

Achilles tendon and the associated muscles are very vital for overall functioning and movement of feet. When this tendon becomes inflamed due to injury, infection, arthritis or even owing to overuse, this condition is called Achilles tendinitis. Athletes, runners, or walkers or even gymnasts involved in stressful physical limb activities are more prone to such painful conditions. Even sports such as basket ball or volley ball requiring the players to jump regularly on the toes can lead to Achilles tendinitis.

Many times due to unexpected increase in the type of work that can put more stress on feet or toe also leads to this condition even in common people. Most often than not while exercising or doing some labor work, if the calf muscles remain tight, then also the person can experience sparking pain from the heel.   In the middle age, Achilles tendinitis is generally caused by arthritis. Outgrowth of bone in the Achilles tendon area can result in irritation, swelling and pain.

Symptoms of Achilles tendinitis

The common symptoms of Achilles tendon are pain emanating from heel while walking or running and numbness or tenderness around the tendon. Due to swelling the tendon may also appear stiff in the early morning. Many times you may notice swelling or warm sensation in this particular area and may cause problem while getting up on the toes.

Diagnosis and tests

In Achilles tendinitis the first thing you notice that early in the morning your heel feels very stiff and painful. The swelling makes the whole surrounding part very delicate to touch and even basic activities like walking or standing become troublesome. If such a condition persists for several days, its time that you visit your healthcare practitioner and get some advise. So as to confirm whether you are suffering from Achilles tendinitis he will initially perform physical examination. He will check the tenderness of tendons and may see your reaction when you walk or stand on your toes. If the condition is very severe sometimes even an X-ray too can be recommended. This becomes quintessential in case of swelling on tendon due to injury or accident. If the X-ray reports are not convincing or reveal some tendon tear, MRI scanning too can be advised. This helps the doctor to come to conclusion regarding the treatment-whether it can be cured by medicines or surgery is necessary.


Generally, surgery is not needed in case of Achilles tendinitis and with proper care and medication the pain may wane off in couple of months. One of the most important advices in such condition is to rest the feet as much as possible and relieve it off stressful activities. Ice therapy is one of the most common home treatments which have been known to cause wonderful results. The patient is asked to put ice on the swollen tendon for 15 to 20 minutes at least thrice a day. The ice should be removed if the area gets numb. Some other precautionary measures like using boots or braces, walking only on soft surfaces, change of footwear, switching to less stressing activities like swimming or cycling can help reduce the pain. Common medications prescribed are aspirin and ibuprofen which should be taken under the guidance of your physical care taker.

When these treatments fail to work, surgery is advised in which the inflamed or outgrown tissue of tendon is removed. Extracorporeal shock wave therapy (ESWT) is also recommended to some patients who do not wish to undergo surgery. In this therapy, sound waves in low doses are used.

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